Monday, April 9, 2007

Surprises at the City of Hope

My follow-up visit at CofH today included a blood draw, a consultation with Dr. Forman, a mini chemo infusion and at least two surprises.

I was surprised to learn from Dr. Forman that my white blood cell count, which was drawn last Friday, had plummeted from 1,000 to 400. Dr. Forman was concerned enough that he thought about calling me at home last weekend. The surprising thing is that I didn't feel "fatigued" at all. As a matter of fact, I had an active weekend that included a dinner party on Saturday night (thanks, Debbie!) and a large gathering of Andrew's family on Sunday. I've taken time for "resting" during the day, but haven't napped once since I checked out of Hotel Hope a week ago. It's encouraging to see that I'm still feeling energetic in spite of the white blood cell dip. I received an inoculation to help me keep the count up during the next round. (NOTE added July 2007: At the time I wrote this, I didn't understand that white blood cells have nothing to do with fatigue.)

While scheduling my next appointments, I spotted City of Hope CEO and President Dr. Michael Friedman, a diminutive but dapper man in a trademark bow tie. He stopped to chat with a volunteer and then with Dannie, my scheduler. I thought about introducing myself to him, but didn't want to be presumptuous. The next thing I know, he's introducing himself to ME because it turns out I'm the person he's looking for.

My friend Barbara R., who is on the Hillside's board with Dr. Friedman's wife Libby, is responsible for the connection. He said that he tried to visit me while I was an in-patient, but I had already checked out. Cindy, Andrew and I sat down and chatted for several pleasant minutes with Dr. Friedman. When he asked how I was being treated, I told him that I had the best doctor in the house. He disagreed and said that Dr. Forman isn't just the best in the house; he's one of the best in the world. I did tell him that I'd experienced a couple of administrative snafus along the way, but everything was satisfactorily resolved. He gave me his card and asked me to call him personally if anything ever came up.

It was no surprise that Dr. Friedman, like Dr. Forman, seems to be that rare combination of genius and graciousness.

5 comments:

Dacia Gonzalez said...

Susan
I'm glad to read that you have the very best at your disposal at CofH.

But do rest even though you feel like you can go 24/7!! I guess it would be like you're not hungry, but need to eat to keep up your strentgh, same applies to rest, si? : )

Glad to hear you and George had a good time on Sunday.. The familia can be overwhelming at times, but they're all fun to be with and they all enjoyed having you over.

Take care

Dacia

skye moorhead said...

hi, susan

in your case
it is obvious that body follows mind
that your stamina is a direct result of you attitude and joy of life

carpe diem in action

xo
skye

Lilli said...

It's nice to know City of Hope realizes how important and special you are -- because you are.

Suzy Keleher said...

So happy you have the world's best Docs! Only the best for Susan...and you didn't even know that blessing would be there. Guess Who is on your side? When my brother set me up for my first Palm Pilot a few years back, he came up with a little saying that touched my heart..." only the best for Suzy" And that is true for you...because, as Bette Midler sings, "God is watching" over you! And you don't even have to make it happen! Love,Suzy

Piper Robert said...

It's not surprising you have found favor with everyone at CoH. You're in our thoughts and prayers daily. Love ya.